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Delaware Valley deploys Pennsylvania’s first CNG-fueled mixer

PHOTOS: Tim Ketavongsa, Delaware Valley ConcreteDelaware Valley Concrete Co. (DVC) kicked off 2014 dispatching its premier compressed natural gas-powered mixer, an Oshkosh S-Series front discharge model converted from diesel as part of the manufacturer’s new glider program.

Based in Hatboro, Pa., northwest of Philadelphia, DVC is the first concrete company running a CNG mixer in Pennsylvania and Delaware. “As a fuel, CNG has plenty to offer. Not only is it cheaper to produce than diesel, it also burns much cleaner,” says DVC President Mario Diliberto. “We are reducing our carbon footprint in the industry and fueling costs as well.

“Five more CNG mixers will be unveiled in the spring, and our goal is to have a substantial percentage of the fleet powered using CNG by 2015. It is our responsibility to operate as stewards of the environment, and we are achieving this by utilizing advancements in technology and incorporating clean energy-powered vehicles. Introducing CNG mixers is an investment in the future and demonstrates our commitment to remain a leader in the industry and stewards of the environment for years to come.”

Oshkosh adapted the NGEN technology—debuting on McNeilus rear discharge models with compressed natural gas tanks running along forward rails—for new S-Series and glider packages, clustering four smaller tanks immediately forward a Cummins Wesport ISL G engine. Delaware Valley took delivery of the first of six glider vehicles (shown above at Hatboro headquarters) in early January.
Oshkosh adapted the NGEN technology—debuting on McNeilus rear discharge models with compressed natural gas tanks running along forward rails—for new S-Series and glider packages, clustering four smaller tanks immediately forward a Cummins Wesport ISL G engine. Delaware Valley took delivery of the first of six glider vehicles (shown above at Hatboro headquarters) in early January.

DVC has a fleet of 88 mixers, dumps, tankers and other heavy trucks serving nine southeastern Pennsylvania concrete plants. Natural gas vehicles typically yield 80 percent fewer ozone-forming emissions compared to gasoline vehicles. Long committed to using only U.S.-sourced materials, DVC will power its new vehicles with domestic natural gas. The producer is already at the forefront of the ready mixed concrete industry in delivering specialty mixes to projects with stringent specifications.

The CNG mixers are equipped with the Next Generation Initiatives fueling system McNeilus Cos. developed for rear discharge mixers, subsequently adapting it for the Oshkosh S-Series. The initial CNG models will be based at DVC’s Plymouth Meeting, Pa., plant, located one mile from a Philadelphia Electric Co. site with CNG fueling station for fleet customers. The utility recently enlisted Denver-based CNG fueling infrastructure engineer and station operator Clean Energy to upgrade its equipment—enabling customers like DVC to refuel Class 8 trucks in under 10 minutes, versus an approximately 15-minute window with existing equipment.

“The senior driver assigned the CNG mixer was skeptical at first and figured the fueling cycle would reduce his deliveries,” says Safety Director Tim Ketavongsa. “The driver has found instead that the compressed natural gas fill up time has not disrupted his schedule.” A full CNG tank holds the equivalent of 75 gallons of diesel, and can carry a mixer for up to three deliveries—hence a full day for a majority of drivers and schedules. DVC will initially turn to the Clean Energy-operated station, but examine its own fueling infrastructure longer term. Despite the off-season delivery and harsh 2014 winter, the CNG truck has caught the attention of customers interested in seeing the alternative diesel power on their jobsites, while DVC dispatchers have included two LEED certification candidate projects on the vehicle’s routing.